CH James, Fairfield

CH James Fairfield is a cafe that’s recently opened up in this not quite inner not quite full-on suburban part of Melbourne. As property prices continue to increase in Melbourne and people who want an inner city lifestyle get pushed further out of the centre, suburbs like Fairfield in Melbourne’s north are starting to see some really interesting new places open up. I was invited to a preview brunch in December but unfortunately couldn’t attend because I was in Perth at the time however I took a rain check on the offer to try out some of the things on the menu, which I took up when I got back.

Owner Theo Krambias was inspired by the story of Charles Henry James, a businessman, philanthropist, politician and socialite who lived in Fairfield and, in the 1860s and 1870s represented the interests of the northern community in the Legislative Council and spent his entire life championing the potential of Melbourne’s north.

The interior is bright and cozy, with loads of natural sunlight flowing in through the large roof to floor windows that separate the inside of the cafe with the outdoor terrace, which along with tables and seating contains a number of planters full of herbs, fruits and vegetables.

ch james fairfield preview

ch james fairfield preview

Chef Franck Verschaeve (formerly of Pope Joan) heads up the kitchen, serving up a focused selection of simple, modern all-day breakfast and lunch options. There’s a big focus on local produce – in fact a quarter of the front of the menu is dedicated to outlining the names and businesses that provide the produce for CH James.

Flat White & Cappuccino ($3.50 each)

Coffee comes courtesy of North Melbourne’s Small Batch Roasting Co.. The coffees were very decent with a mild flavour designed to appeal to most palates.

ch james fairfield preview

Only If You’re Hungry ($19.00)

It was midday when I arrived at CH James and I’d not had anything to eat all day so the “only if you’re hungry” seemed like a natural choice. It involves thick cut bacon, roasted potatoes, chorizo, roasted tomato, chickpeas & eggs the way you want.

I asked for my eggs to be poached as (apart from the fact that it’s what I actually wanted) it’s always a good test when eating at a new place – it’s surprising how many places still manage to get poached eggs wrong. The eggs at CH James were thankfully perfectly poached, with a beautifully gooey yolk slowly flowing out of the egg white onto my toast when I pierced it with my fork.

Everything was really tasty, especially the proper thick cut bacon – in fact my only criticism was that the chickpeas seemed like a confused addition and weren’t necessary with everything on the main plate being satisfying enough on its own.

ch james fairfield preview

Dr Marty Crumpets, Whipped Ricotta, Strawberries & Rooftop Honey ($10.00)

I’m a big fan of Dr Marty’s Crumpets, having purchased them many times from various farmer’s markets around Melbourne. Unlike basically all crumpets that I’d ever tried before, these aren’t oily at all and have a really light, fluffy texture to them. The toppings in this case were very summer appropriate and well balanced. Very tasty.

ch james fairfield preview

Rhubarb & Raspberry Cola ($4.00)

I saw this on the specials card that was on the table and couldn’t resist giving it a try as it sounded quite novel. It was exactly as the description suggested, with cola being the most defining feature and the rhubarb and raspberry adding a subtle twist to the drink.

ch james fairfield preview

ch james fairfield preview

ch james fairfield preview

Lauren and I were really happy with what we chose to order – the food was really tasty and the prices were decent (although being an invite we didn’t pay this time). The atmosphere is really “local hangout/family friendly” and I’d certainly have no hesitation in returning. In fact, I think I’ll have to return just to try the watermelon, orange blossom, minted yogurt & granola crumb which I almost ordered instead of the crumpets.

CH James

86 Station Street
Fairfield
Victoria 3078
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9486 3484
Email: n/a
Website: http://chjames.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sun: 7:00am to 5:00pm

C.H. James on Urbanspoon

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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